Agent: Borini needs games, wants a World Cup place

LIVERPOOL’S Fabio Borini might start pushing for a move back to Italy in the New Year, according to reports.

Borini’s agent, Marco De Marchi, says that the player, currently on loan at Sunderland, needs to start getting some playing time with a World Cup looming next summer. De Marchi claims: “I can say that if Fabio’s situation doesn’t change in the next month, we could evaluate a return to Italy so that he can find the consistency he needs ahead of the World Cup. Borini would absolutely love to take part in that tournament. He dreams of Brazil in 2014 and needs games.”
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Flanagan gives Rodgers "something to think about"

Some players work out better than others when they’re called up to take part in their local derby – but Liverpool’s Jon Flanagan was one of those who worked out very well.

Flanagan has been sitting around waiting for the chance to go out on loan, a chance to get some game time in a squad where other full backs have been higher up the pecking order than him, but injuries have seen him start two big games for the first team and he’s no longer available on loan.

The occasion can get to players when they’re playing in front of lifelong footballing enemies but Flanagan was cool, calm, collected and composed at Goodison, despite being asked to play on the opposite flank to the one he’s used to.

His manager was impressed with his performance: “Jon Flanagan was immense,” said Brendan Rodgers.

“A young kid from the city, given the chance to play in a derby game that will be on Sky Gold in about 30 years’ time, and given the chance because of his desire to put himself out there every day.”

It’s easy to forget how young Flanagan actually is. He made his debut two-and-a-half years ago and after dropping out of the first team picture it seemed like his senior Reds career might be short lived. But Flanagan doesn’t turn 21 until New Year’s Day, there’s still a lot of time for him to develop into a player that Liverpool can make good use of.

The obstacle standing between Flanagan and a long-term career at the club is a problem that a lot of young players face, especially at clubs like Liverpool this year where there aren’t as many first team games to play as in past seasons.

Managers don’t keep their jobs long these days, it’s asking a lot of a manager to put his faith in youngsters for the long-term good of the club when he’s expected to bring success in the short term. It means clubs buy – or borrow – more experienced players to fill squad positions that could be taken by their own academy recruits.

Having worked with youngsters throughout his career Rodgers is well aware of this and wanted to get Flanagan out on loan somewhere, as he’s done with a number of the club’s other young hopefuls. But after his showings against Arsenal and especially in the derby he’ll be staying put beyond Thursday’s loan deadline.

Rodgers said after the 3-3 draw at Goodison: “He needs to play football, but if he plays like he played today, he is going to get football.

The boss express surprise at the lack of interest from other clubs in getting the use of a player with Premier League experience, cost free: “It’s been remarkable, really, that we haven’t had any clubs come in to take him on loan.

“We will always facilitate the wages, but we have had just one club come in for him, and that was a League One club. He’s a young player that needs to play.”

Some clubs showed a bit of interest but in the end it’s worked out well for club and player: “There have been a couple of enquiries about him, but nothing concrete. I just felt that I needed to have him about, and in the end I needed him to play in the Arsenal game.”

With Jose Enrique out until the middle of February and Aly Cissokho having struggled with both injury and form Liverpool need a player they can rely on now. Glen Johnson has missed games through injury himself this season and Martin Kelly is some way short of being back to full fitness.

That player could be Flanagan: “He’s done brilliantly, and that gives me something to think about,” says Rodgers.

Liverpool have a busy period coming up and one way or another it could mark a turning point in Flanagan’s career. By the time he’s celebrating his birthday, the day the transfer window reopens, he might well have established himself as a regular.

Flanagan gives Rodgers “something to think about”

Some players work out better than others when they’re called up to take part in their local derby – but Liverpool’s Jon Flanagan was one of those who worked out very well.

Flanagan has been sitting around waiting for the chance to go out on loan, a chance to get some game time in a squad where other full backs have been higher up the pecking order than him, but injuries have seen him start two big games for the first team and he’s no longer available on loan.

The occasion can get to players when they’re playing in front of lifelong footballing enemies but Flanagan was cool, calm, collected and composed at Goodison, despite being asked to play on the opposite flank to the one he’s used to.

His manager was impressed with his performance: “Jon Flanagan was immense,” said Brendan Rodgers.

“A young kid from the city, given the chance to play in a derby game that will be on Sky Gold in about 30 years’ time, and given the chance because of his desire to put himself out there every day.”

It’s easy to forget how young Flanagan actually is. He made his debut two-and-a-half years ago and after dropping out of the first team picture it seemed like his senior Reds career might be short lived. But Flanagan doesn’t turn 21 until New Year’s Day, there’s still a lot of time for him to develop into a player that Liverpool can make good use of.

The obstacle standing between Flanagan and a long-term career at the club is a problem that a lot of young players face, especially at clubs like Liverpool this year where there aren’t as many first team games to play as in past seasons.

Managers don’t keep their jobs long these days, it’s asking a lot of a manager to put his faith in youngsters for the long-term good of the club when he’s expected to bring success in the short term. It means clubs buy – or borrow – more experienced players to fill squad positions that could be taken by their own academy recruits.

Having worked with youngsters throughout his career Rodgers is well aware of this and wanted to get Flanagan out on loan somewhere, as he’s done with a number of the club’s other young hopefuls. But after his showings against Arsenal and especially in the derby he’ll be staying put beyond Thursday’s loan deadline.

Rodgers said after the 3-3 draw at Goodison: “He needs to play football, but if he plays like he played today, he is going to get football.

The boss express surprise at the lack of interest from other clubs in getting the use of a player with Premier League experience, cost free: “It’s been remarkable, really, that we haven’t had any clubs come in to take him on loan.

“We will always facilitate the wages, but we have had just one club come in for him, and that was a League One club. He’s a young player that needs to play.”

Some clubs showed a bit of interest but in the end it’s worked out well for club and player: “There have been a couple of enquiries about him, but nothing concrete. I just felt that I needed to have him about, and in the end I needed him to play in the Arsenal game.”

With Jose Enrique out until the middle of February and Aly Cissokho having struggled with both injury and form Liverpool need a player they can rely on now. Glen Johnson has missed games through injury himself this season and Martin Kelly is some way short of being back to full fitness.

That player could be Flanagan: “He’s done brilliantly, and that gives me something to think about,” says Rodgers.

Liverpool have a busy period coming up and one way or another it could mark a turning point in Flanagan’s career. By the time he’s celebrating his birthday, the day the transfer window reopens, he might well have established himself as a regular.

Ian Rush launches The Official Treasures of LFC

At a time when many people are finding e-books and e-magazines are more convenient than physical copies it’s actually quite refreshing now and again when a book comes out that needs to be seen in paper, physical, form to be enjoyed properly.

The Official Treasures of Liverpool FC, now in its second edition, is an interactive book in the old way. Supplied in a box, the book contains over 20 pieces of “exciting and rare items of removable facsimile memorabilia”. In other words, it has bits you can take out, hold in your hands and look at, like old match tickets, postcards, telegrams and more.
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Backs should be back for LFC, says Rodgers

LIVERPOOL’S defeat at Arsenal last weekend was a disappointment and the Reds will be looking to bounce back with a win against another London side this weekend. Fulham are the visitors to Anfield and Brendan Rodgers is hopeful he’ll have more of his squad available for this game.

With Glen Johnson succumbing to an infection in his jaw Jon Flanagan was drafted in late on at The Emirates for his first start in 19 months and although he played well there was something of an outcry about why Martin Kelly wasn’t picked ahead of him. Brendan Rodgers has moved to clear this up, confirming that Kelly is still some way from being back to full fitness.

Kelly’s career has been blighted by injuries and, it seems, Rodgers isn’t willing to rush him back too soon and risk another relapse: “It’s just getting him fit,” said Rodgers, “That’s the most important element of Martin’s career at the moment.”

Kelly made a late appearance last time out at Anfield as a substitute for Glen Johnson, himself returning from a period of time out injured: “I gave him a little sample in the game at home to West Brom. He came on and, afterwards, he probably didn’t feel quite right, which is why young Jon Flanagan played in the Arsenal game.”

Reserve football is likely to play a big role in Kelly’s return to full fitness: “It’s just going to take time for him. It’s great credit to him that he’s playing in the under 21 games to get his fitness.”

As for the future role for the player, it may not be at full-back and in a squad filled with centre-backs it could be some time before he finds himself established in the first team: “He’s a multi-functional player,” says Rodgers, “he can play both full-back and centre-half well. It may well be that centre-half is his position, but he’s working very hard at his fitness and we’re trying to give him as much game time as we possibly can outside of the first team, so that when he goes in he can really contribute without having to worry about whether he’s going to break down or not.”

Rodgers was full of praise for the former Academy player: “He was excellent when I first came in here last year – he started the season very well and was one of our best players. It was unfortunate he picked up the injury. He’s a good guy, he comes in every day to work and work hard.

“Naturally, when you’ve been out for so long you’re a bit tentative. When he played against West Brom, it was his first Premier League appearance for 14 months, so naturally it’s going to affect you in some way.

“As he trains and gets more games in the under 21s, you’ll hopefully see him get back to where he was at – which is a really high level.”

He won’t be needed in Liverpool’s starting line up tomorrow against Fulham with Rodgers confirming that Glen Johnson is over the illness that kept him out of last weekend’s defeat: “Glen will be fine. We don’t know what caused it – he just woke up feeling pain in his jaw.

“He trained but gradually in the build up to the Arsenal game it got worse and worse, thankfully, he got some help at the hospital and that cleared it up.”

Rodgers is also hoping to have another option open to him at left back after Aly Cissokho was substituted at half-time in last week’s game. Jose Enrique could be back: “We’re just waiting on Jose,” Rodgers said. “He’s trained and his knee is much better so we’ll hoping he will be available for the weekend.

“That’s something we’ll assess in the next 24 hours. It’ll be great to have Jose back.”

For Brendan Rodgers, being able to use his most experienced full-backs in a formation that essentially sees them playing as wing-backs will be a massive boost in the last game before the international break.